As told to Mara Reinstein
When I was 19, I spent the summer in Nashville working in a show for Opryland theme park. I grew up in a tiny town called Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, so getting the chance to sing and dance for months with live musicians in front of a lot of people was my heaven. That experience began my love affair with the city. My fiancé, Josh [Bryant], and I bought a condo in Midtown about a year and a half ago, so I feel like I’ve finally achieved my dream. Now, music is what brought me to Nashville, but what keeps me there are the people and the food! Breakfast is my favorite meal, and fortunately and unfortunately, the restaurant Biscuit Love is so good for my tastebuds but bad for my waistline. I get biscuits and gravy and eggs and bacon, the whole nine. You wait in line with everybody else, which makes you humble. One time there was a lady in front of me and she said, “I love you, by the way, but I don’t love you enough to step out of line for you.” It was so cute. We also like Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, which has chicken and waffles and all that good Southern food. Josh will get his chicken really hot and have the sniffles for the rest of the day. You can also find the best live music there, of course. I adore this jazz club called Rudy’s Jazz Room, where you just randomly walk in and hear incredible talent. I’m a classical nut, so I will attend concerts at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center as much as I can. It’s also one of the best places to sing because the acoustics are beautiful. And just like New York City has Broadway, Nashville has its Broadway too. It’s a big tourist area but so fun. One time I walked down the street and went inside every club to take a listen. People started to notice me at the Whiskey Bent Saloon, but nobody was rude. They never are. They just say they love you. It’s a different vibe. I mean, there’s a misconception that Southerners don’t have a brain, but shockingly, we do. It’s on display very well in Nashville, along with massive respect and kindness.
Kristin Chenoweth is a Tony- and Emmy-winning actress and singer. Her new memoir, A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages, is out now.